Mone admits she could benefit from PPE profit
Baroness Michelle Mone has acknowledged that her husband Doug Barrowman made millions from selling PPE equipment to the government and that she is a beneficiary of his financial trusts that hold the funds.
In a television interview she admitted she lied to the media for years after denying they were involved with the company awarded the contracts, PPE Medpro, which is under investigation by the National Crime Agency (NCA).
She said she had done this because she wanted to protect her family from press attention, but said this “was not a crime”.
Speaking to Laura Kuenssberg on the BBC, she said: “If one day, if God forbid, my husband passes away before me, then I am a beneficiary, as well as his children and my children.”
Mr Barrowman added: “Ultimately, if I’m married to Michelle, and ultimately, I’m going to generate profits, then ultimately, Michelle, in some shape or form, is going to indirectly benefit. And actually, if I die, one day in the future, she’s going to directly benefit.”
Last week, they admitted they were linked to the deal during a film funded by PPE Medpro and posted on YouTube.
Sunday’s appearance was the couple’s first TV interview since it first emerged they were involved in providing PPE during the pandemic at a cost of more than £200m.
“I did make an error in saying to the press that I wasn’t involved,” she said.
“Hindsight is a wonderful thing. I wasn’t trying to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes, and I regret and I’m sorry for not saying straight out, yes, I am involved.”
She said that the government and the NHS knew she was involved, and she had declared her interest with the Cabinet Office.
Mr Barrowman said the company had made profits of approximately one-third on the £203m contracts – approximately £67m. Some of the money, he confirmed for the first time, was transferred to the Keristal Trust.
He claimed that a senior government official invited him to pay money to make a criminal fraud investigation into PPE contracts “go away”.
Apart from the NCA probe, the Department of Health and Social Care is pursuing a £122 million civil case for “breach of contract and unjust enrichment”.
Mr Barrowman said that a senior government official suggested in November last year that the NCA investigation would be dropped if they paid back the cash.
“This individual asked me would I pay more for the other matter to go away,” he told the BBC. “I was speechless … I’m clear what he was saying — he was asking me if I would pay more money for the NCA investigation to be called off.”
When asked why he did not tell police, he said that his legal team had advised “that we park that one for now”.
In response Oliver Dowden, the deputy prime minister, said: “I simply don’t recognise that, but let’s wait and see. There is a proper process for this to go through, which is a civil case and a criminal case.
“We will get to the bottom of what has happened. I am confident [that this suggestion was not made] and I would be very surprised, but I don’t want to pre-judge matters.”